Tar Springs 25k

Wet, brutal, steep, rainy, muddy, cloudy, cold, brutal, beautiful, green, fun, brutal, and kinda tough.

It was lightly drizzling in the half hour leading up to the start. I was ready for it and excited to run trails that are typically off limits due to private property. And I love running new trails. The run started off pretty nice. The hills were green and lined with fog. Wildflowers were popping up all over the place including lupine and columbine. But the hills were steep. I purposely avoided looking at my GPS until I thought I was around ten miles. When I finally did look, I was only at 6.8 miles. It was a crushing feeling.

At that point, I had to adapt my run or I was going to hit the wall. I slowed down a lot at that point and walked for a few miles except for the downhill. Even on the downhill, I took it easy. I think it was a good move that saved me from some dramatic suffering.

Overall, I felt really good. During the last 5k, it really started raining hard. It also was about that point that I reached another vertical hill that seemed to go on forever. Easy did it. When I reached the top, I flew down. The rain was falling harder, and it was absolutely beautiful. There was a long stretch that I had all to myself to enjoy the falling rain. (Yes, I’m sure there were some endorphins hitting me at that point too.)

I pushed hard on this one, and I feel good about it. At the end, I was saturated. I enjoyed one of the beers they were offering, but that was mostly because I wanted to be under their tent. After that, my temperature started dropping, and I had to get out of there.

Excellent run. If you ever get a chance to do it, do it.

Old Prospect Trail and Clumsy Feet

I started my run out of Johnson Ranch today. When I reached Froom Canyon, I decided to check out the Old Prospect Trail since I had never explored it very far. I honestly didn’t think it would go very far, but I was wrong. The steep trail connects up to the Wednesday Trail and the Ocean View Trail. So you can get a lot of miles out of the combination of Johnson Ranch and Irish Hills Preserve.

I was stumbling a lot today right from the start. I felt really clumsy until I realized that it wasn’t me being clumsy, but my feet. I just had to keep a close eye on them to make sure they didn’t purposely faceplant me. I honestly didn’t think I would make it through the run without a fall, but incredibly, I made it.

It got a bit warm near the end, and there were tons of people on the trails near the parking lot, but everyone was polite and aware, so it was fine. I was super happy that my shins were not bothering me at all today even though they really worried me just two days ago on a five miler. No idea how that works, but I’m happy. Next week is the Tar Springs 25k. Should be fun!

Heaviest Rain!

Today’s run was what I thought yesterday’s run was going to be (video coming soon). I took the German Shepherd out with me again, and I think he may have regretted it. Most of the run was a drizzle or a light rain. The dog and I cooperatively decided to go a little further than yesterday, so we ended up in the edges of Rice Ranch Park. I really love running in the rain, if I haven’t already made that apparent in past posts. There were moments today that the C dog and I just stopped to enjoy the rain coming down. I can’t help but laugh in those moments because they make me so happy. But the finale was well-timed for maximal impact.

In the last half mile, just as I was getting off the trails, the sky opened up and dumped a real downpour on us. I mean, this was flash flood level stuff. Within a couple of minutes, the streams looked like rivers. The road leading to the parking area was 2-3 inches deep. The roads above were flooded. Assuming nobody got hurt, that was exactly what I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to be in the downpour. I wanted saturation.

The C dog might have thought otherwise. This is absolutely the heaviest rain he has experience in his life (with his real family, at least). I think he was mostly fine with it, but water in the eyes can be uncomfortable. He did fine with light rain, but this drenching was like a bath to him, and he doesn’t like baths. But we were close to the car at that time.

I ran up to the car laughing at the fact that I was lucky enough to get the exact conditions I wanted, and I let the German Shepherd into the car. My car will probably suffer for that, but there was no other option. It was so much fun. I absolutely love weather like that. The only unfortunate thing is that I took video of yesterday’s run, not today’s. But the lens may have been blurred by all the rain today anyway. Today was just for me and C dog. And that’s fine with me.

PCTR MDO Half Marathon

It was a super fun trail race today run by Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) at one of my favorite running locations even though it wasn’t a true 13.1. It rained pretty good yesterday, so everything smelled good. Around mile 8, things started getting sticky. The trail was super muddy. It was funny seeing so many people so perturbed by the mud. I tried to be supportive, but I also laughed out loud a couple times (not in a disrespectful way). When I got to Islay Canyon, I was still feeling good, so I reeled in a few runners. Finally, I ran a section of trail I’ve never been on that included a nice little creek crossing. Everyone was super friendly as it is all all trail races I’ve been to. At the end, they actually had vegan food options which included vegan tacos and soup. Very nice. But I was super surprised to find out I won the half marathon distance in my age group. That’s never happened before. I very well may find that I was the only 40-something running that distance today, but it was a cool surprise either way. Very good morning. And now the rain is coming in. That will make it even better.

Vlog #17 – Buckeye Goodbye

It has been a tough week. This is how I choose to deal with difficult times.

Exploring the Buckeye Trail

Today, I decided to explore a trail I have never been on: the Buckeye Trail. I read some trail reports last night, and the conditions seemed good, but it sounded like a steep climb. Highway 1 was closed right after the trailhead (literally within 200 feet of the trailhead) due to the huge landslide that happened last year. That won’t be cleared up for a couple of years if I were to guess.

Sure enough, it was steep. It was quite chilly at the start, but even after about 10 minutes, I had to shed my jacket due to the incline. But it wasn’t long before the views of the coastline started paying off. It was delightful traversing the west side of the Ventana Wilderness in and out of steep little canyons filled with tall pine trees. A few of the creeks were flowing well.

I finally reached the Buckeye Camp, and it was a really nice place. There was a meadow bordered with pine, oak and four big eucalyptus trees. A small creek was flowing down the south side. I enjoyed it very much.

Eventually, I decided to turn around. I had a blister developing on my right heal for some annoying reason, and I was probably a bit low energy due to the last three days of running. There wasn’t a definite turnaround point anyway, and it was steeper than anticipated. If I don’t have a goal to continue climbing for, it can get hard to continue. Also, the wind higher on the hill was piercingly cold. I was the only person out there.

It was a successful exploration and well worth the climb. I couldn’t have asked to be anywhere else today. Perfect.

Heavy Wind, Misty Rain, and Sticky Mud

I headed out to MDO today to run the trails in the rain. What I didn’t expect was the heavy wind that came with the rain. It was so uncomfortable in the beginning that I wasn’t sure I was going to complete the run. But eventually, I warmed up. But as I reached the top of Hazard Peak, the wind was blowing so hard that it was difficult to breathe, stand, and maintain my hat on my head. The wind was blowing probably around 40 mph. Eventually, I put my rain jacket hood on over the hat and cinched down the line to keep everything together. It worked well. It was also at this point that I ran into the only other person I saw the entire time: a lady that was also running. I have an affinity with people I run into in those types of conditions, although I can’t say that to a random female I’ve never met before.

Conditions on the trail were pretty good most of the time until I reached East Boundary Trail. That one had a sticky clay that accumulated on my shoes. After a few steps, you could gain ten pounds on your feet as well as a couple of inches in height. But it’s not fun to run that way. It was a bit tricky getting down East Boundary, but once I made it to Islay Canyon, everything was fine.

At the end of Islay, I connected back to the Hazard Peak Trail to get back to my car over by the Hiedra Trail. The wind was still howling, and I was completely saturated. Rain jackets don’t help in those conditions. I hoped to get more like 15 miles today, but under the circumstances, I was happy with 11. It was not an easy run, but that’s what it’s all about.

Vlog #16 – Almost Alta

Sometimes I make wrong turns. Sometimes I get unexpected views because of it.

Vlog #15 – Winter Waterfall

Last Thursday, I got to do some hiking around Sequoia National Park. On this hike, I got to see a beautiful frozen waterfall. See what it was like in this video.

Chapel to Church Half Marathon

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When I noticed that there was a half marathon in Santa Maria, I had to try it. It starts at the first historic landmark in Santa Maria which is right next to the Sisquoc Winery and leads around the foothills of Santa Maria. Yesterday’s weather report showed that it was going to be a warm run. I like be be completely self-sustaining, so I think I was the only person there that had a hydration pack. I’m fine with that. I know exactly what I’m eating and drinking, and I prefer it that way.

It’s a good thing because there were some weird things about this run even though it is the third year it’s been held. There was no “food” at any rest stops. Only water. So I was happy I provided for myself. I won’t get into the other weird things because I’m sure it is difficult to do a race like this. But I will state the obvious: it was a slightly long half marathon. Personally, I was fine with that. I could have gone for more.

But it was warm at the end. I was worried the heat would get to me as it has in the past. I did my best hydrating, and I think it paid off. There were some good hills, but it was nothing compared to my usual weekend runs. I was pretty happy to be able to run most of them. Everyone I talked to was very nice and supportive. So I think it was a success. Plus, it is my first race in about a year. It’s nice to “race” again even though I don’t usually go for speed.